Here's what the profile in courage said when asked about Trump's claim that the numbers were inflated by Democrats to make him look bad on this Sunday's Meet the Press:
FEMA Administrator Brock Long Sunday questioned the relevance of independent studies tying thousands of deaths to the aftermath of last September's hurricane in Puerto Rico, echoing President Donald Trump's criticism of those findings as Florence continues to batter the Carolinas.
Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," Long defended the president for his response to Hurricane Maria last year and argued that findings from multiple academic studies were "all over the place."
"I think the president is being taken out of context there," Long said. "I mean, I talked to the president every day this week, and the secretary of Homeland Security, and we discuss what we're trying to do as a result of last year."
“I don’t know why the studies were done," Long said when asked about Trump's claims that the study was "done by Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible."
"What we’ve got to do is figure out why people die from direct deaths, which is the wind, the water and the waves, buildings collapsing," Long said.
"The numbers are all over the place. FEMA doesn't count deaths. And if you take what's going on with Florence, the deaths that are verified by the local county coroners are the ones that we take."
On Sunday, Long attempted to distinguish the direct deaths from "indirect deaths," arguing that it would be tenuous to link those to the hurricane and the federal government's response.
"The GW study looked at what happened six months after the fact," Long said.
"You might see more deaths indirectly occur as time goes on because people have heart attacks due to stress, they fall off their house trying to fix their roof, they die in car crashes because they went through an intersection where the step lights weren’t working," he said.↓ Story continues below ↓
He went on to add that the agency looks at "all kinds of studies," noting that while spousal abuse rates go up after disasters, "you can't blame spousal abuse after a disaster on anybody."